Sullivan was responsible for remodelling the premiership’s judicial code in the 1990s and is second only to Jim Comans in terms of his influence. He saw fit to pass comment after second rower Proctor became the first player in the competition’s history to be sent off at the weekend, for an incident involving his New Zealand team-mate Shaun Johnson.
“I am very troubled that there is a case to answer here about a terrible accusation. The only worse “ crime” is eye gouging,” Sullivan wrote on LinkedIn
“If you want to bite someone you don’t do it with a mouthguard in? If, despite that, you can bite there would have to be bite marks consistent with a bite from the lower teeth. There appears to be no evidence of that. The after-event contact between Proctor and Johnson is inconsistent with the crime.
“The judiciary, given the seriousness of the allegations, should not convict unless very comfortably satisfied the offence occurred. Given Proctor has always been a hard but fair player, the unwillingness of Johnson to give evidence, the equivocal nature of the video evidence and the lack of motive or reason, I would be really disappointed if Proctor’s reputation was destroyed by this accusation.”
Sullivan called on Johnson to come forward and admit he had been trying to atract a penalty he made the complaint.
“My impression of the video was that Johnson was milking it and was very regretful afterwards,” Sullivan wrote
“He should have the courage to come forward and tell the truth at the judiciary.
“I really think that honour demands that Johnson overcomes the “ omertà” code and volunteers to give evidence before the judiciary.”